St. Louis Blues head coach Mike Yeo

(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

ACKERMAN: Will Blues Play For Yeo?

Tom Ackerman has a quick read on the area's biggest topics.

Tom Ackerman
October 26, 2018 - 4:59 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The Blues don't sound like a team that wants to get their coach fired, but they're sure playing like it.

Thursday's 7-4 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Enterprise Center was an exercise in futility, with the Blues blowing (another) 2-0 lead, falling behind 4-2 faster than a second-period bathroom break. In the third period, the score went from 4-3 to 7-3 quicker than it takes to finish that last beer.

This is a problem for Mike Yeo, who has only been the head coach in St. Louis for 21 months. But in the NHL, that doesn't matter... if your team is expected to win and you don't, you're in trouble.

News alert: they're not winning. The Blues are 2-4-3, which roughly means they're 2-7 through nine games. The "it's too early" explanation can only last so long. This is becoming a trend, a disturbing habit of blowing leads, especially two-goal leads, and especially in the third period.

Enter the players.

"We support him," forward Vladimir Tarasenko told reporters after the Blues allowed a touchdown to Columbus. "We believe in him. That's why he's our coach right now and we will (bleeping) play for him so hard."

Actions speak louder than words, Vladi. Even the profane ones.

Saturday night, the Blues play the hated Blackhawks for the third time this season. Another embarrassing flop on this seven-game homestand will necessitate change.

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Another coach on the proverbial hot seat, Mizzou's Barry Odom, also has a big game on Saturday. No. 12 Kentucky visits Faurot Field, a chance for the Tigers (0-3 in the SEC) to get that first conference win.

If Missouri is going to be taken seriously in the SEC, they're going to have to knock off a ranked opponent at home. Kentucky would be a good start. The Wildcats are seven-point underdogs, indicating they still have a lot to prove to the experts... which makes them kind of dangerous, no?

As long as Mizzou can catch the ball, they should have enough firepower... and I think the Tigers' defense is a tad underrated.

Pick: Missouri 31, Kentucky 21

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College basketball is here!

SLU opens with Quincy University, an exhibition game on Saturday night at Chaifetz Arena. The Atlantic 10's top preseason pick has a chance to be really good, especially with the way they'll crash the boards and defend. The Billikens probably need more practice time to get the offense rolling, but they'll be entertaining in the nonconference portion of the season. Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French can score (as can others). Tramaine Isabell loves to shoot it... and can make it. And who isn't excited about seeing what Carte'Are Gordon can do? SLU could be a team creating some tournament buzz in March before it's all said and done.

Mizzou? Cuonzo Martin has enough talent to compete in the SEC, even without the unique skill-set that Jontay Porter possessed before his season-ending knee injury. The Tigers would have been an interesting team with a solid passing, rebounding and scoring forward like Porter. They also would have been a big team, rolling Porter (6-11), Jeremiah Tilmon (6-10), Mitchell Smith (6-10) and Reed Nikko (6-10) off the bus. Martin still has a strong frontcourt -- as long as Tilmon stays out of foul trouble. He's a special talent, without question. The player to watch, however, is Kevin Puryear... the 6-7 senior versatile forward now plays a pivotal role in the success of the 2018-19 season with Porter out. Friday night, the playmaking Mark Smith was given a waiver to play immediately after his transfer. If the steady, wiser-than-his-age Dru Smith gets the same treatment from the NCAA? Well, the Mizzou backcourt then gets a huge boost.

I'll touch on Illinois... and the four Illinois schools in the Missouri Valley Conference (Loyola, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Bradley) in a future column.

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Four quick Cardinals thoughts... what have we learned about the World Series, as it applies to the Redbirds?

1) They need to make sure that bullpen is stacked. (It has potential, but still needs a lefty and a closer.)

2) They need to make sure their defense is solid. Errors will not play in the pressure-cooker that is October.

3) They need another clutch hitter or two. This will be available externally, whether it's writing an obscenely large check for Bryce Harper or another free agent (or two). Could they teach Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong and Tyler O'Neill how to make better contact? What a difference that would make. By just making more contact, Bader would be a tremendous threat offensively with his speed.

4) Yadier Molina, the 2018 Robert Clemente Award recipient, is an amazing human being and it goes well beyond his play on the field. Look, I'm just happy it's been well-documented this week, not only on this website but all over the world... Molina went to Puerto Rico after the 2017 season and went to work to help his home island recover from Hurricane Maria. He not only donated supplies, he helped distribute them, cleared debris, helped people get medical attention. He didn't sleep much. To those who know Molina, which would be all Cardinals fans, this isn't a surprise. If he's involved, it's going to be a winning effort... and he follows those who left a similar legacy. Molina is the fifth Cardinal (the most of any club) to win the Clemente award, joining Lou Brock, Ozzie Smtih, Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran. He won the fan vote by a wide margin. Which got me thinking... how popular of a manager would he be someday? He's the skipper of the U-23 Puerto Rican national team and enjoying it, although he says it's too early to say if he'd consider it as a career...

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Okay, that's enough for now. Have an amazing weekend.

@Ackerman1120